Bachelor of Jazz Studies

The Bachelor of Jazz Studies program at The Desautels Faculty of Music is designed to provide a broad and comprehensive study of jazz performance, jazz composition and arranging as they have developed over the past century. It also provides strong training in jazz history, theory, and pedagogy.


WAG Pre show

The Bachelor of Jazz Studies program addresses the four disciplines that jazz musicians must cultivate in order to achieve professional success: performance, composition, arranging, and pedagogy. A student graduating with a Jazz Studies Degree from The University of Manitoba will be equipped to enter the field of jazz in any one, or combination, of these areas. Our program has received high praise from jazz luminaries in in  the fields of performance and education (see Curriculum page for more details)


Graduates of our program are going on to success in performance and education, please view Alumni News pages for news on Curtis Nowosad, Luke Sellick, Will Bonness, Laurent Roy, Amber Epp, Erin Propp, Karl Kohut and Heitha Forsyth.

Jazz Alumni Allstar Performance November 2012: Will Bonness - 2007, Karl Kohut - 2009, Neil Watson - 2009, Lucas Sader - 2013, Heitha Forsyth - 2008, Curtis Nowosad - 2011, Simon Christie - 2011

Browse the selections at the right to learn about
our curriculum, faculty, events, and more!

Why should you choose The University of Manitoba Jazz Studies Program?

Thanks to the Faculty of Music's jazz program, marquee jazz musicians now regularly come to Winnipeg to perform and teach, putting the city on the international jazz map. Steve Kirby, Director of Jazz Studies, and his colleagues Quincy Davis (drums), Derrick Gardner (trumpet), Will Bonness (piano), Larry Roy (guitar) and Anna-Lisa Kirby (voice) and now the newest member of our jazz faculty, Jon Gordon, have collaborated with the finest artists on the international jazz scene and brought renewed energy to Winnipeg's jazz culture.

The Jazz Studies Program has created numerous jazz outreach and community initiatives that provide opportunites for students to perform and teach while building further on Winnipeg's Jazz Community.

These initiatives include:

  • Izzy Asper Jazz Performance Series: This is a professional jazz concert series featuring international jazz artists for 15 concerts per year, and our student jazz ensembles perform an opening set for these major artists at every concert
  • The Cool Wednesday Night Hang: Now in its 9th year, The Hang is a New York style jam session that is run by Desautels jazz faculty members. Every Wednesday night the jazz faculty, students and community players come together to play jazz or as Professor Kirby calls it, "composition at the speed of conversation" at The Orbit Room. It's a unique opportunity for students to share the bandstand with their world class instructors while applying the many improvisational techniquess they are learning as part of the jazz curriculum.

    The Cool Wednesday Night Hang - Lary Roy, Amber Epp, Marcus Printup, Steve Kirby & Will Bonness

  • dig! Magazine: now in it's 10th year, this bi-monthly publication features articles about local, national, and international jazz musicians, upcoming performances and workshops, as well as historical context, interviews, reviews, CD and book recommendations, and letters to and from the editor. Our students are often givin the opportunity to write articles for publication in dig! under the guidance of associate editor, Charlene Diehl.  
  • Jazz On Wheels: is a mobile Jazz Performance Education program providing today’s urban youth with positive artistic experiences, helping them to discover new creative outlets and to develop a life-long appreciation for jazz.
  • The Bridge Program: The Bridge brings music instruction to under-served neighborhoods, inspiring at-risk students to find positive ways of expressing themselves and feel connected to the community at large. Students from the Jazz Studies Pedagogy class teach in The Bridge Program as part of their practicum.
  • The University of Manitoba Summer Jazz Camp for middle and high school students.

  • The University of Manitoba Jazz Orchestra - this 17-piece jazz orchestra led by Professor Derrick Gardner gives the students the full Big Band experience. As a member of the Count Basie Orchestra since 1991, Harry Connick Jr. Big Band, Smithosonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Professor Gardner brings a wealth of professional experience to his role as Director of the UMJO.
  • The University of Manitoba Small Jazz Ensembles: are led by all of the jazz faculty members. In addition to credit performances at The Cool Wednesday Night Hang and Mardi Jazz, student jazz ensembles have numerous opportunities to perform throughout the year. These include opening sets for the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances and appearances in local high schools.

    Promise 2013

  • Promise: is an outstanding student jazz ensemble directed by Professor Quincy Davis.


"I believe that Jazz music is one of the most powerful tools in history for unifying our world’s social and cultural community. Born in the North American community and accepting of all societal participation, Jazz is the confluence of two mainstream cultures in our modern society. Rhythm language, which is an African tradition, speaks directly to the soul of us all and is meticulously blended with the European art of song form and melody. A more accurate name description for Jazz is Spontaneous Composition Performance Music."

Professor Steve Kirby, Jazz Program Director


Click here to see a list of third and fourth year music electives for all concentrations

Application Information

Music Electives

The Faculty of Music offers a complete 4-year program, leading to a Bachelor of Jazz Studies.

If you have any questions, please contact our Admissions Coordinator at (204) 474-6728 or by email.